Palmer’s work entitled “Trials and Tribulation” received the Best in Show Award and the $500 Purchase Prize at the 3rd Annual Guitar As Art Exhibition Opening Reception on September 4th, 2016. This event is hosted annually as a dual effort between the Tennessee Soybean Festival and the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Department of Visual and Theatre Arts.
The juror for the exhibition, T. Michael Martin, is the Director of University Galleries and Assistant Professor of Art at Murray State University. Martin released the following statement regarding his selection of the work:
“It has been my honor to have the opportunity to jury the 3rd Annual Guitar As Art exhibition. The breadth of creativity and the varied approaches to art making demonstrated by all of the artists on display truly impresses me. The painted guitars on view represent a broad community of talented artists who convey a commitment to their craft. It was a pleasure spending time looking at all of the work and I am positive that visitors to the exhibition will enjoy and be inspired by the range of painting methods and the quality of craftsmanship on display.
Selecting the awards was challenging with such a range of exciting techniques and a variety of surface attention unique to each artist. There are areas of inspiration within each work and multiple references mirroring artists from the canon of art history. From traditional subjects and painting handling to the abstracted and non-objective and from illustration to conceptual works the artists and their works in this show demonstrate a wealth in the variety within the arts today.
The visually charged and skilled surface attention in works like What’s the Point? by Scott Smith, Sunflower by David Harold Sheridan, Established Ego by Joshua Massie, 508 Just Breathe by Nikki Gentry, Eternal Knight by Cody Williams, Calendar by Jason Taylor, Our Home Sweet Home by Rachel Taulbee, and A Summer Gone by Christina Hobson immediately attract the viewer’s eye. The attention to detail in Wicked He(art) by Kaitlyn Frandsen, Overgrown Beauty by Beth Angel Bodwell, and Creation in Grandma’s Garden by Sarah Skelton draw you into the work and entice a closer investigation. The animated imagery in Chase in the Morning by Zach Robinson, The Hands by Nicholas Jay D’Acquisito, Poached by Terran Qualls and Tatsu Toril by Shane Gregory ask for imaginative exploration into their unique stories.
The calm, airy scenery in Martin Farmers Market by Michelle Fieser was selected for its connection to the Home Grown theme. The painting feels reminiscent of the American artist Edward Hopper in its rendering, paint handling, and display of subtle social interactions within the market environment. Ultimately, the politically charged and all around flow of the unsettling multi-narrative within Trials and Tribulation by Clay Palmer led to the best of show selection. Palmer seems to be expressing a scene of national and global distress, possibly displaying a darker side of society in order to direct the viewer to contemplate issues and motivate change.
I would like to extend thanks to Jason Stout for inviting me to juror this exhibition, UT Martin Galleries for hosting such a wonderful and unique exhibit, and the City of Martin for their continued efforts toward the success of this exhibition and for their outstanding support for the arts in this community. Again, it has been my honor to jury the 3rd Annual Guitar As Art exhibition. Congratulations to everyone involved in the continued success of this annual exhibition. ”
This exhibition will be open to the public at the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Fine Arts Gallery at 16 Mount Pelia Road in Martin, TN from September 4 to September 17, 2016.